Withy Trees Day Centre refurbishment complete

We’ve had a great time redesigning the dementia day centre’s social areas. In the dining room, we recovered chairs and tables and created an interactive memory wall. We also reupholstered armchairs and made double-pinch pleat curtains. Overall, we went for a 70s look and feel with the colours and fabrics. Many thanks to Panaz for the fabrics, and our team for the exquisite craftsmanship. Yet another fantastic example of the power of buying social and buying local!

Co-founders recognised for commitment to community

We are pleased and excited to announce that both co-founders, Maureen and Paula, have been recognised for their commitment to social enterprise and community.

Maureen has been invited to this year’s Buckingham Palace Garden Party on 21 May, and Paula has been selected by The High Sheriff of Lancashire to receive an award on 8 March at the Preston County Hall event.

Both are being recognised for their years of outstanding commitment and support, including Maureen’s decades-long working relationship with a local women’s refuge.

Congratulations, Maureen and Paula!

New wellbeing sewing project for survivors of domestic and sexual abuse

logo The Sewing Rooms has been awarded a grant from the Community Foundation for Lancashire to run a nine-month wellbeing sewing project with the Liberty Centre (previously known as the West Lancashire Women’s Refuge). The funding comes from the Government’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport’s Tampon Tax Fund.

Led by the Sewing Rooms’ Laura Scott, the project will guide groups of women and girls through the processes of designing and creating decorative community banners. The three themes depicted by the banners will by “A safe place to heal,” “Education and building futures,” and “Moving on.”

The completed banners will be unveiled at the Centre’s AGM in November 2019.

All skill levels will be catered for during the project. The weekly sessions will be underpinned by the Five Ways to Wellbeing, which will create the framework for individual development plans for each participant. The plans will focus on health, wellbeing, self-confidence and local social and economic involvement.

Happy New Year 2019!

Politically, economically and socially we know there are challenges ahead. We use this new year to rededicate ourselves and our efforts to helping solve community problems through social enterprise, a cornerstone of true equality.

All the best from the Sewing Rooms team! We thank you for your continued support and hope to meet you or work with you sometime in 2019.

Local and regional partnerships

Social enterprise depends on the relationships people have with each other and with the organisations they support, whether that be financially or through time and other donations. Working with local and regional organisations and businesses is an important part of the Sewing Rooms’ success and goals. We strengthen our communities by helping to support and build bonds and opportunities for our neighbours.

To that end, we were grateful and pleased to have been asked to make grocery bags for the Northern Harrogate GroceryAid ball on 1 December 2018!

And a bit before that in November, we worked with local schoolchildren at the co-op celebration day in Sandy Land and Upholland stores to create a sew fab science banner. Our talented Laura Scott led the sessions, and we also worked with St Richards Primary School. Such an inspiration seeing what the children created!

If you have an idea for a project or partnership, please give us a call; we’d love to discuss the opportunities.

Upcycle, recycle and reuse

The Sewing Rooms recently completed several projects showcasing the innovative reuse of materials and creative skill of our teams. Having already worked with Sheffield Hallum University on the student bar, we were excited to be asked back to help refurbish the student guild. Reupholstering furniture, making new cushions and building new pieces of furniture – all from upcycled materials – not only gave the space a new look and feel, it also kept many kilos of waste from landfill.

And who could resist a beautiful dog bed like these? Our “Out of this World” range is a series of luxury dog beds made from reused materials and exquisite Panaz fabrics. This could be the Christmas gift for the dog lover in your life!

Get in touch if you’d like more information!

Our thanks to the continued support from Panaz!

The team at Panaz recently hosted the Sewing Rooms’ team for a fantastic festive session of sewing! We made decorations, listened to Christmas music and of course, had a few nibbles! The support of Panaz through the company’s donations of fabric continues to enable The Sewing Rooms to provide the one-of-a-kind products and services we are known for. We cannot thank them enough.

And a couple of weeks earlier, we had an inspiring session with the Panaz team led by CEO Tony Attard to discuss future growth potential and opportunities. We look forward to further development!

Advocates for social good

The Sewing Rooms co-founders Paula Gamester and Maureen Fazal have had a very busy Autumn. Speaking at a number of events around the country, they have shared their expertise gained through first-hand experience.

Most recently, Paula and Maureen spoke at the BBI Health and Social Care HOMES Summit that explored how housing affects health and wellbeing. Earlier this year, they presented their shared vision for ageing well to The South West Academic Health Science Network. And locally, Paula and Maureen spoke at the Lancashire 50+ Forum in September.

Collaboration is key in the social sector, and social enterprise is a cornerstone of strong communities. As a force for good, and through the work of dedicated individuals and organisations, social enterprise is making inroads into reducing inequalities and improving life for people around the world. Please get in touch to find out ways you can get involved – from #BuyingSocial for gifts to donating fabrics and items or your time, the entire team at The Sewing Rooms would love to hear from you!

Taking part in the Ageing Well Torbay Festival

Our Transform Ageing programme – Sewing Torbay Together – has finished its community banner and will display it as part of the fourth annual Ageing Well Torbay festival on Saturday 20 October. Supported by UnLtd, the Design Council, the Big Lottery Fund and Torbay Community Development Trust, we held sewing sessions in Brixham, Torbay and Paignton for people over the age of 50.


This has been an important component of our social business since the very start. We sell a variety of upcycled and bespoke products created by our manufacturing department, including reupholstered chairs and sofas, made-to-order curtains, soft furnishings and accessories such as scarves and bags. We use the beautiful fabric donated to us by Panaz for many of these projects and were shocked and dismayed when news broke of the wastefulness of some of the fashion industry’s giants. We have saved thousands of kilograms of fabric from landfill and when possible, we hire local craftspeople who have completed one or more of our sewing and upholstery courses.

As ever, if you’re looking for a gift, we’d love to help. We have myriad upcycled products available and even more ideas, and if we can’t provide you with what you’re looking for, we can put you in touch with other social businesses who may be able to help!

One of the social enterprises we have been working with is Kitty’s Laundry! We’ve made their lovely bags and can’t wait to see the business prosper!